Gut health and skin microbiome

A powerful link between gut health and skin microbiome health

When it comes to healthy skin, our microbiome might be the largest and most important organ that most have never heard of! Your microbiome are the trillions of bacteria that live in and on your body – the largest ones being the gut microbiome and skin microbiome. And this is key to the powerful link between gut health and skin microbiome health.

The 100 trillion microbes that live in our gut – called the gut microbiome – play a central role in our well-being, including skin health. The two-way communication between our gut microbiome and skin microbiome, means when your gut health is off, skin can become irritated and inflamed.

In fact, an imbalance in our gut microbiome could play a significant role in the progression of inflammatory skin disease such as psoriasis, acne or rosacea (Mahmud et al, 2022).

Personally, having had acne and rosacea most of my adult life, I definitely find a microbiome friendly diet, as well as microbiome skincare, makes a massive difference to how my skin looks and feels.

The relationship between your gut health and skin microbiome is complex and extremely close. Think of your gut and skin as best friends who like to share secrets! They’re connected in ways that scientists are just starting to understand.

Here’s the lowdown on how your gut health and skin microbiome can work together to give you your best skin yet.

Immune system – the central command centre

Your gut is like the command center for your immune system. When it’s happy and balanced, it helps your immune system defend against skin nasties. It’s like having a superhero team inside you!

Inflammation effects

If your gut is throwing a proper tantrum (inflammation), it might make your skin go haywire too. Think of it as a ripple effect – what happens in the gut doesn’t always stay in the gut.

Microbiome balance

The trillions of microbes that live in your gut and on your skin in fact need to get along. If there’s a wild party or some uninvited troublemakers, it could really mess with your skin. Balance is the key to a happy microbiome.

Fatty acid friends

Your gut microbes produce these super-important molecules called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). This happens by breaking down dietary fiber in a process called fermentation. They’re like peacekeepers, making sure everything is calm and collected. These peacekeepers have a wide-reaching so-called ‘systemic’ effect. So SCFAs can influence your skin, making it happy and healthy.

Nutrient essentials

Your gut microbiome plays a crucial role in nutrient metabolism, absorption, and overall well-being. For example, some gut bacteria can synthesize certain vitamins, such as B vitamins and vitamin K.

What’s more, your gut microbiome may play a role in the absorption of minerals like iron and calcium.

Hormonal happiness:

The gut microbiome can influence your hormones. Hormonal imbalances, such as those related to stress, can impact the skin. Chronic stress, for example, can affect the gut-brain axis and contribute to skin issues.

Remember though, while science is getting the hang of this close-knit friendship between your gut microbiome and skin microbiome, it’s still figuring out the details.

Equally important, take care of your gut with good food and managing stress. Consider taking probiotics to give your skin and gut the VIP treatment.   

For general gut and skin health, experts have the following recommendations:

DO

Boost collagen with:

Collagen-rich foods, e.g.:

  • Meat / fish / Eggs (organic)
  • Spirulina
  • Collagen-stimulating foods, e.g.:

Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits (oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruits etc)

Take collagen supplements

Eat fermented foods, e.g.:

  • Kefir, kimchi, kombucha

Lower stress hormones, such as cortisol, with adaptogenic herbs:

  • Ashwaganda
  • Schisandra

Build peace, e.g.:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Meditate

DITCH

  • Pro-inflammatory foods, e.g.:
    • Processed foods
    • Refined sugars
    • Hydrogenated oils

In summary – for gut health and skin microbiome health:

  1. Boost collagen
  2. Eat fermented foods
  3. Lower stress
  4. Build peace
  5. Ditch pro-inflammatory foods

NOTE: This does not constitute or substitute for medical advice! Seek professional healthcare advice as needed

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Sources:

Dr Josh Axe, The Gut & Skin Connection | Ancient Nutrition – YouTube . Accessed 17.03.23

Dinan T. Trends in Urology & Men’s Health, 2022 

Mei F, et al. J Functional Foods, 2020

Madison A, et al. Curr Opin Behav Sci, 2019

Mahmud R, et al. 2022. Impact of gut microbiome on skin health: gut-skin axis observed through the lenses of therapeutics and skin diseases – PMC (nih.gov) . Accessed 11 April 2023